Grassroots Solutions Support Group

Supported by Kangan Institute, Banksia Gardens Community Services and Melbourne City Mission Northern Parent Support Program, Grassroots Solutions is a group of young adults with disabilities and carers living in the City of Hume who meet up at Banksia Gardens once a month to exchange, support, advise, inspire and have a fun time.

Grass roots First meeting - Chases drawing (1)

Chase’s drawing from first meeting

The group has met since September 2014; alternating between evenings and day-time meetings to suit the group. A light meal/snack is provided at each meeting. On average 10 participants have attended each meeting, including the facilitator, Sheena Mathieson.

Lucy Macali, National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC) and Meri Ivanovska, Community Transition Support, Inner Northern Local Learning and Employment Network (INLLEN) recently attended one of the sessions as special guests, advising regarding employment issues.

At each get-together pamphlets and notices regarding opportunities for members of the group are made available and in between meetings such opportunities are emailed to the group. The focus of the meetings is very much group-determined. There is a lot of chat and a lot of laughter (and sometimes tears). Suitable activities and conversation are facilitated in an encouraging environment.

Issues raised by the group so far include:

  • Name of the group
  • Networking opportunities
  • Notion of a roadshow: visiting schools,  employment agencies, employers, universities, etc
  • How to convey that people with disabilities/special needs are not aliens
  • How to get your dream job
  • Opportunities to chat, socialise, support each other
  • Gaining tips on public speaking
  • Getting public speaking experience and opportunities
  • Getting participants to think about setting up their own businesses in public speaking and charging for presentations
  • Advocacy
  • Helping to advertise and promote via media/TV/radio
  • Information sharing and learning
  • Brainstorming.

It is hoped that over the coming months it will be possible to delve into some of these issues and to encourage the skills around telling our stories, networking and making people more aware.

For more information about this group contact Sheena Mathieson on 0418 506942/ email sheena.m@banksiagardens.org.au